We’re into the final few days before Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile technology trade show, begins, and as CES 2013 didn’t provide quite the smartphone overload we hoped for, it’s probably going to be one of the busiest shows for several years. Due to a slightly quieter than usual CES, many of the devices rumored may now turn up at MWC, so let’s compare what we thought was going to happen in Vegas, with what we think will happen in Barcelona.
As far as mobile phones are concerned, Samsung didn’t bother announcing any at CES, leaving Verizon to talk about the Ativ Odyssey and merely sending out a press release for the Galaxy S2 Plus. Rumors spread of the Galaxy S4 making its debut in Vegas, but that was almost certainly never going to happen and what’s more, it almost certainly won’t be at Mobile World Congress either.
The Samsung flexible phone did get its moment in the spotlight, but only as a prototype on stage during the company’s keynote presentation. Known as Youm, the device was shown running Windows Phone 8 and not Android as many expected, but it was very much a work-in-progress and won’t go on sale anytime soon. However, a device named the Samsung Galaxy Q has been rumored, and it could feature dual folding screens using similar technology, giving the option of a 5.3-inch smartphone or a 10-inch tablet view.
So, what’s left for MWC? We’re still waiting on the Galaxy Note 8.0 and perhaps a 1080p smartphone/tablet hybrid, which were both possible for CES, and they could be joined by the mid-range GT-iS6810 Galaxy Frame and a new version of the dual-SIM Galaxy Young Duos handset. The world’s first Tizen phone could also be at the show, although the rumor suggests if it is announced, it’ll be for Japan only.
However, Samsung may not be hold one of its now famous Unpacked events during the show at all, preferring to spend the money on a standalone launch at a different time. Samsung has neither confirmed nor denied its plans for Mobile World Congress.
LG made no secret of the fact it was waiting for MWC to unveil its 2013 smartphone range, so what can we expect? LG’s VP of marketing said it would be bringing out “tier one” – which means flagship – phones with “various screen sizes” at MWC and throughout 2013.
Whether LG will announce more than one high-end smartphone isn’t clear, however the Optimus G2 is supposedly out of the picture, leaving us with news of the 5.5-inch version of the Optimus G Pro. Recently announced for Korea, the big-screen G Pro will use a Snapdragon 600 processor and has been confirmed for a U.S. release later this year. LG’s fashionable L Series range has been updated with the L3 II, L5 II and L7 II, and we’re expecting more details on the trio at the show. There’s also talk the Korean firm may also re-enter the tablet market, which may be related to the Tab Book, which has appeared on LG’s official blog in the UK this past week.
In addition to the L Series II, LG will also display the new 4G LTE F Series phones, on which we hope to get a few more details and a confirmed release date. Finally, there’s the mysterious V Series, which has been teased in an extensive – but detail light – video.
Nokia has scheduled its press conference for 9am on February 25, although what it will reveal isn’t known. Perhaps the most talked about device Nokia could launch is a Windows RT tablet, the specs of which are said to include a 10-inch screen and a Snapdragon processor. Our hopes for a lust worthy Windows RT tablet have taken a blow recently, as an analytical firm has said Nokia won’t be bringing a tablet to MWC, and it will concentrate on smartphones instead.
An recent interview with Nokia’s head of imaging technologies may prove to be well-timed, as it revealed it has some “very cool” new PureView camera technology in the works, and it’s worth remembering the 808 PureView celebrates its first birthday at the show. A PureView device with the codename EOS has been rumored, and it could run Windows Phone 8. As for its Lumia range, it seems a little early for the refreshed 920, codename Catwalk, to be announced, as it’s a model Nokia may save for its own event later this year. CEO Stephen Elop is listed on the official Mobile World Congress site as a confirmed keynote speaker.
After Huawei announced the Ascend D2, Ascend Mate, and the Ascend W1 at CES, it would be reasonable to expect the company to give Mobile World Congress a miss; however this isn’t the case at all. A Huawei executive has said it’ll be launching two phones at the Barcelona show, the first being a successor to the Ascend P1 with a thin, metallic chassis.
The second could be the Ascend W2, another Windows Phone 8 device but this time with a higher specification. The W2 has been leaked before and its potential spec list includes a 4.5-inch HD screen, a dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera, all wrapped up in a 7.7mm thick body. Additionally, we’re hoping to hear some news on the international release for the Ascend D2 and Mate, as they’re current only slated for China.
Sony is one of the few companies which had a strong smartphone line-up at CES, however it only really announced one phone, with the Xperia ZL being a variation on the Xperia Z. It’s possible Sony will use Mobile World Congress as a launchpad for the remainder of its 2013 range.
Phones such as the C530X, codename HuaShan and the C550X, codename Dogo, are prime candidates for launch. Both run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the C550X could be another Sony device powered by a quad-core processor. On the tablet front, the new Xperia Tablet Z has been given a springtime release in Japan, so Sony may break the news of a European or U.S. release at the show.
Like Huawei, ZTE had a good CES 2013 line-up but will also be bringing more phones to Mobile World Congress. It has confirmed the ZTE Grand Memo will be there, a device said to have a 5.7-inch screen and a quad-core processor, along with one of the first retail phones running Firefox OS. There has also been talk of the Nubia Z7, which could boast a massive 6.3-inch screen. The Z7 has some other big numbers attached to it, such as a 16-megapixel camera, 4GB of RAM, and a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. We’ll believe it when we see it.
ZTE has also been confirmed as the first manufacturer to offer a phone using Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor, although it’s not known whether such a device will appear at the show. Finally, following its appearance online, the ZTE V81 Android tablet could get its official release date and price during MWC.
As HTC was completely silent for CES, we were expecting great things from it at MWC, however it decided to hold a separate event on February 19, where it announced the HTC One. The event focused solely on the One, so Mobile World Congress could see the introduction of the rest of HTC’s 2013 range. An extensive codename leak gives us some clues as to what we could see, along with two devices not listed, the HTC M4 and HTC G2. The former may have a 4.3-inch screen and a 1.2GHz processor, while the latter could be the baby of the range with a 3.5-inch screen and a 1GHz chip. HTC could also use the show to reveal its new brand identity.
Mobile World Congress will begin less than a month after the announcement of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. The press coverage provided at MWC, plus the chance for attendees to try out the both of the new phones, could be seen as critical publicity for BlackBerry at a very important time.
This makes it all the more surprising to read rumors the company won’t be attending the show in any capacity. BlackBerry was there last year, when it had nothing to announce except PlayBook OS 2.0, so for it to shun the show when it actually has something to shout about (and in which many people are interested) is very odd.
At the time of writing, BlackBerry isn’t listed as one of MWC’s confirmed exhibitors on the official event website. There’s also nothing on the company’s own event planner either, but then neither is anything past November 2012, so one can’t take this as confirmation just yet.
All The Rest
Intel has said it’ll have a dual-core Atom processor for smartphones on display, along with its basic Lexington chip, while Acer could bring its rumored 8-inch and 10-inch budget Android tablets, ready to join the likes of ZTE’s similar offering, plus its Liquid E1 and Liquid Z2 Android smartphones.
Asus has been linked to a device named the FonePad, which could be a 7-inch tablet with an Intel processor, capable of making and receiving calls. A short viral style video from the company doesn’t give much away, but it does suggest a metallic device which docks with another device. Fujitsu will show the recently announced Stylistic S01, an Android smartphone aimed at senior users, while Archos could unveil its first Android smartphones. Qualcomm and Nvidia will also be there to talk mobile processors, while Canonical will be demonstrating Ubuntu for Mobile. Apple won’t be at the show officially, but members of its staff will undoubtedly be wandering the show floor.
Mobile World Congress begins on February 25 and runs until February 28 in Barcelona, Spain.
UPDATED: 02/22/13, 10:00am